I always get asked, “How can you succeed online?” “What 10 social media success tips would you give?”That is a VERY complex question….there is a lot involved in determining a strategy, understanding your audience, productizing, defining your story, then bringing it to market. However if you are one of the 59% of small to medium sized businesses who HAVE NOT decided to jump on the Facebook or the social media bandwagon here are 10 Tips to help you get started and build your brand online.
- Pick 1 Network to Start With. There are tons of social media networks out there; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Google + just to name a few. The strategy for each of these networks is a LITTLE bit different and the delivery is never the same so where do you start? I suggest picking 1 network and starting there. Not sure what network to choose? Who is your target audience? Who are you trying to attract? Are you carving out a niche or are you casting an net to create brand awareness.
- Fill out your ENTIRE Profile. When you start on any network it is important to complete your entire profile and create custom artwork for that network. Here is a great cheat sheet on the current sizes for the different social networks (http://www.inc.com/larry-kim/social-media-image-sizes-cheat-sheet-infographic.html) and make sure your brand looks similar/same throughout your digital footprint
- Create a content calendar: I highly recommend creating a content calendar. This is key to getting organized especially when you have multiple people on your calendar. Here is a sample of what we use 2015 Social Media Calendar and get 30 days ahead and stay ahead.
- Be Consistent: Nobody wants to guess when your next blog post will be posted or when/if ever you are going to post again. I always recommend posting daily. That way people know what to expect while there are some exceptions to that rule, 90% of the time its what I recommend. I typically take Sunday’s off from posting for my company this is a personal preference.
- Blog Regularly: Business who blog more than 20 times a month have 90% more website traffic than those who don’t. While this isn’t necessarily a social media activity this helps you to be more successful on social media. As you can leverage the blog post as content to drive sales to the website.
- Find a Social Media Management Program: If you plan to create, schedule, manage and engage on social media all yourself. I recommend a social media management program. This will give you a dashboard to schedule out posts (with the exception of instagram – they are a mobile only platform), respond on most networks and analyze your data to see what is working and what isn’t. I use sprout social but that can be a bit pricy for someone who isn’t managing social media for a living. Some other options include Buffer App, Hootsuite, and Rignite.
- When Engagement Happens Respond Promptly: While for most standard business practices a response within 24 business hours is pretty typical for social media I believe the faster the better. Why? You have their attention right then and there so capitalize on it. While it is still appropriate to respond within 24 hours I have found the faster I respond the better connection I make.
- Create a Brand: Social media is both visual and written but the trend is to more and more visual content it’s important to brand your business online. Imagery should have the same look and feel apply a filter to help make this happen. Use your company’s preferred font and colors in all that posts that you have online. This helps to create that look and feel that all the big brands leverage online.
- Define a strategy: Understanding your social strategy starts with understanding why you are doing social media. Are you educating potential clients? Are you offering online customer service? Are you looking to create a community of like-minded individuals? Are you trying to generate prospects? If you are selling a service is it easy for someone to understand what you are selling? Define why you are doing social media then start sharing your story.
- Be Authentic: The hardest part with any social media effort is to find the balance between being professional and sharing part of your identity. This connected world we live in is a much different landscape for the business environment then 10 or 20 years ago. When you are building this digital footprint and creating this online eco-system for your business understanding your story is vital to success. My son plays a large role how I operate my business on a daily basis I like to incorporate him into some of the social posts that I do but more often then not its business related. Why? Because my business exists to help you be more successful.
My hope is that this guide will help you get started on social media. It’s an ever changing world that evolves with technology but I recommend you get started today before your competition does. Got questions? Message me at Jamie@outliermarketinggroup.com